Thirty-five years of volunteering and a commitment to education by a Trail resident were recognized on Tuesday.
It began last week, with a call from Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy’s office alerting Ray Furlotte that he was to receive a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“I was shocked, it was so out of the blue,” said Furlotte.
It came to a climax Tuesday at the Trail Middle School (TMS) when Conroy pinned the medal to Furlotte’s lapel, while a large crowd of family, friends and former students, gave him a hearty round of applause.
“It was important to award the medal to a person in our community, who has really made a significant difference in a lot of people’s lives,” said Conroy.
Following the ceremony Conroy said the accolades for Furlotte continued to roll in.
“One young man just came up to me to tell me what a positive change Ray has made to his life.”
Furlotte, a retired teacher and administrator from TMS, is recognized for his role in developing and introducing on-line learning at the high school level.
“The way TMS is now, is something I started, that type of educational system where we could house all kids that required extra help and special needs together,” said Furlotte.
“We could deliver a service that was not available in the regular high school.”
Furlotte is past president of both the Trail and District Arts Council and Phoenix Theatre, and actively involved in local sports groups.
The contribution he is most proud of is founding and leading the popular Rossland Gold Fever Follies, which is still performing after 26 years.
But his favorite volunteering activity has been serving as a billet to the Smoke Eater players for the past five years.
“It is beyond enjoyment,” he said.
“I am an avid Smokies fan and billet in the winter, then enjoy theatre in the summer.”
Furlotte joins other local medal recipients: Audrey Urquhart, Trail; Bobbi LaFond, Rossland; Libby Nelson, Fruitvale; Lawrence Bond and Dorothy Hearn, Salmo.
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal commemorates the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the queen’s accession to the throne, as Queen of Canada.
The medal serves to honor significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
During the year of celebration, 60,000 Canadians from across the country will be recognized.